How MicroConf Kick-Started Our Business

Chris AchardBusiness, React0 Comments

MicroConf is two day conference focused on self-funded startups. They have speakers that will inspire you and help you start, grow, or sell your startup. It turned out to be one of the best things we could have done for our new business.

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Expectations

My co-founder and I went into MicroConf thinking about starting a B2B SaaS app. We had a few ideas and had started the process of customer validation to determine the real problems our target markets were facing. I went in feeling pretty good about the process we had used so far, and the software that we were getting ready to build.

Imagine my surprise then, when one of the first piece of advice the speakers gave was don’t build a SaaS product first! It was repeated at least three times over the course of two days. The speakers encouraged us to start with something we can do quickly. A SaaS startup normally takes a long time to get going if you’re starting from where we are, and then – if you are successful – you’re rewarded with ongoing customer support. So – what should we do instead?

Start Small

The most common advice given was to start with an info product. An info product can be anything you can sell digitally – an ebook, infographic, video course – or anything else you can produce with a computer and sell online. The benefits over a SaaS product are numerous:

  1. You can get up and running quickly
  2. No support calls at 2am
  3. Learn how to sell online

An info product will teach you how to sell things online. The whole idea is to get the first experience of selling something you’ve created to a stranger on the internet. The first time you do that (make your first $1 online) is a magical moment. That will give you momentum – and will help you get started on your journey.

Just Ship It

Once we had decided not to start with a B2B SaaS app – we were faced with a question: “What should we build first?” The answer for us was so obvious that it’s embarrassing that I didn’t think about it first.

A year ago, I actually started down this path already – and I have an almost completed ebook about React… just ready to get finished! I wrote it because I had several beginners ask me about React (I use it for my day to day consulting) – and I started to teach them how to build web applications with it. After doing that for a while, I thought: “Hey! I should write this down…”

MicroConf reminded me: don’t wait for it to be perfect – or you’ll never get across the finish line. So after the first day, we decided to start with the React e-book, and skip the B2B SaaS startup.

In order to ship as soon as possible, we worked hard to get a landing page up, and we started to tell people about it.

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Charge More

We haven’t started selling the e-book yet, but the most common advice in all of MicroConf is to charge more. We constantly undervalue our contributions and output – and almost every speaker had some variation of this message in their talk.

We probably would have sold our e-book for $29 max before hearing that advice again and again, but after hearing the speakers and talking to the other conference goers, I think a $49 price point is totally reasonable for a 250 page book. I still can’t shake the urge to charge less though, so the plan right now is for a sale price of $29 for launch. We’ll write all about the launch – so check back to see if that was a good idea or not 🙂

Moving Forward

MicoConf is a fantastic conference to get you excited about your business. I had been following Rob and Mike and watching the old MicroConf videos for many years – but this conference still exceeded my expectations. The talks were inspiring, and the “hallway track” (talking to other conference attendees between talks) gave me more new ideas for our startup.

I left MicroConf with a huge to-do list, and the momentum has pushed us in better directions. Next year I hope to have grown the company from zero to a solid business for me and my co-founder – and feel confident to attend the Growth Edition instead of Starter!

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